Day 1 CPT Universities: What to Know
Before Applying

Navigating the realm of Day 1 CPT universities  (click to skip and see the Top 15 list) can be challenging. With our expert insights, we aim to shed light on this unique academic opportunity, addressing frequently raised concerns and providing clarity where needed.

If you want to save your time, fill out a form below. We will evaluate your situation and get you a personalized shortlist of Day 1 CPT universities and Day 1 CPT programs.

*We take your privacy seriously, all information provided is for evaluation purposes only, it will not be shared with a third party unless you authorize us to apply to Day 1 universities on your behalf.

What is Day 1 CPT University?

Day 1 CPT universities (also called “CPT Schools”) are institutions that offer programs supporting Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization right from the start of their programs. This concept, which is not officially defined, is well-known among the community of international students. Day 1 CPT allows them to engage in practical training and work alongside their studies from the very outset, sometimes from the literal first day.

Such programs are a boon for international students, as they offer internship opportunities even before graduation. This is especially beneficial for those who might not have an extensive local network to aid in job hunting. Moreover, CPT serves as an alternative for legal employment, especially for those who face challenges in obtaining an H1B visa.

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Key Benefits of Day 1 CPT Universities

  • Practical Experience: Day 1 CPT programs provide students with real-life experience in their chosen field, giving them a competitive edge.

  • Legal Employment Avenue: For those who find it challenging to secure an H1B visa, CPT serves as a viable alternative.

  • Networking Opportunities: Engaging in CPT allows students to build a local network, which can be invaluable during job hunting.

Day 1 CPT Universities: 25 Quick Facts

Following are some 25 frequent questions we encountered while consulting students who are interested in or have already enrolled in Day 1 CPT universities:

Top 15 Day 1 CPT Universities: Click here to see the full list with summaries of programs offered by each university

1. Which Day 1 CPT school is the most Affordable?
  • Lowest annual tuition - Humphreys University ($9,333)

  • The cheapest CS program will be - Trine University ($9,343)

  • Lowest payment per semester- Sofia University ($2,730)

    >>>>More Options for Cheap Day 1 CPT Universities

2. Which Day 1 CPT school has the longest history?

Trine University. It was established in 1884.

>>>>Learn More about Trine University

3. Which Day 1 CPT Universities have the lowest RFE rate?

There is no official data for RFE rates. However, according to our knowledge and data shared by our previous students, WestCliff University, Trine University, Sofia University, and Monroe College have relatively low RFE rates compared to other CPT schools.

>>>> Read: How to Prevent RFE?

4. Which Companies Accept Day 1 CPT?

We understand this is an important issue for you. Therefore we consolidated a list >>> Day 1 CPT Employers

5. Day 1 CPT might not be the best option for you if...
  • You can’t fulfill responsibilities associated with F visa, such as attending on-site classes, keeping your GPA above 3.0, etc.

  • You are a H4 holder whose spouse’s I-140 has already been approved.

  • You have submitted immigration request to USCIS before.

    >>>>Learn More about Day 1 CPT and Things to Watch out Before Enrollment

6. Which Day 1 CPT school has the most enrollment last year (2022)?

In 2022, the University of the Cumberlands had the highest number of enrolled students, with a total of 7563 records.

>>>> Learn More about University of the Cumberlands

7. Common Reasons for an RFE?

RFE will be based on the following reasons.

  1. USCIS needs to verify if you have finished your degree.

  2. USCIS wants to know your genuine intention to resume your academic plans.

  3. The USCIS is seeking clarification on your pursuit of multiple master's degrees despite already obtaining one.

    >>>> Learn More about Day 1 CPT & H1B RFE

8. Which Day 1 CPT university offers the most scholarships?

Westcliff University offers the largest number of scholarships, including:

  • scholarship of $1,000

  • School scholarships of up to $10,000

    >>>> Register with us to secure your scholarship.

9. Which Day 1 CPT University has the lowest onsite frequency?

With the ease of the pandemic, many Day 1 CPT universities resumed their on-site sessions. Here is an on-site frequency checker you can use. We update the information monthly.

10. Which university offers exclusive scholarships for students?

Below is a list of universities that offer exclusive scholarships through

  • Westcliff University ($1000)

  • Harrisburg University ($600)

  • Monroe College ($600)

>>>> Register with us before applying to secure your scholarships!

11. Which university process CPT applications the fastest?

According to our students: New England College (NEC)

>>>> Learn More about New England College

12. What are your responsibilities during your time on CPT?
13. When is the best time to enroll in a day 1 CPT program to avoid a status vacuum?

At least 1 month before your previous status is expired.

i.e. If your OPT will be over in May, start the application process in early April.

>>> Read our Guide: Day 1 CPT and Day 1 CPT Universities Application Timeline

14. While on day 1 CPT, am I allowed to travel outside of the United States?

Whether you are using your CPT or not, you are an F1 student. F1 students can have an F1 visa which allows them to travel back and forth.

15. Should I put my Day 1 CPT Universities on my resume?

After receiving an offer, HR typically conducts a background check that reveals your complete education history. While Day 1 CPT universities might not have high rankings, their practical approach offers unique value to potential employees. There's no need to conceal your education history.

16. Workload at Day1 CPT schools?

usually 2-4 hours/ week.

>>> Read Student Review to get a sense of what it is like studying at Day 1 CPT universities

17. Can I graduate from a Day 1 CPT school without doing an internship?

Of course. Day 1 CPT is merely an unofficial term to describe these institutes that offer the option of CPT as early as the first day of your study. Many of these schools have regular programs or can waive internship requirements if you wish. In the following CPT universities, you can graduate without taking CPT courses:

  • Humphreys University
  • Westcliff University
  • Monroe College
  • Harrisburg University
  • CiAM
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • Sofia University
  • Saint Peter’s University
  • McDaniel College
  • Trine University
18. What happens if my GPA falls under 3.0?

You may lose your CPT authorization. You may even face expulsion from the school if no progress is shown.

>>>> Learn More about Day 1 CPT before you decide to use it.

19. Can I do Day 1 CPT as an H4 holder?

As an H4 holder, you may study at any school as a part-time student. If you wish to enroll as a full-time student and use CPT as a form of work authorization, you will need to apply for a Change of Status (COS), which, with the primary process, takes about 1 month when processed domestically.

>>>> Read more about How Could H4 Holders Work Legally in the U.S.?

20. Day 1 CPT Programs that can finish within 1 year?

Many master's-level courses can be completed within 1 year if you arrange your courses correctly. You'll need to talk to your advisors to determine how to expedite the process. We'd like to remind you that, as an F1 student, you can only select 1 fully online course per semester. When adding additional courses to your curriculum, be mindful of this, as failure to comply may result in accusations of being out of status (OOS) from USCIS.

21. Why Day 1 CPT universities don't have good rankings?

Honestly, their rankings are not that bad. The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, which ranks much lower than most of the Day 1 CPT universities we work with.

On that note, Day 1 CPT universities don't usually factor into the US News Ranking system because they are occupationally oriented rather than research-oriented. The criteria to determine their worthiness are very different.

22. What can I do if I failed at my CPT school?

If you are unable to raise your GPA above 3.0 or if you face expulsion from your CPT school for other reasons, consider pursuing an emergency transfer or a change of status to a different type of visa to maintain your legal status in the U.S. Reach out to our experts for guidance on this matter and take swift action before you jeopardize your current F1 status.

23. Is it important to have a STEM day 1 CPT degree?

Yes and No.

STEM is highly valued in the U.S. It's a strong addition to your resume and provides you with 3 years of OPT after graduating from a STEM program. However, if this is your second master's and you've already used OPT from your first one, you can't use OPT from another master's program. The right enrollment window or location or tuition…might carry more weight in your decision-making at this point. Choosing the right program and Day 1 CPT university is a complex process, book a free consultation with our expert to make it easier.

24. Can I do Day 1 CPT if I'm an initial F1 student?

Usually not, but exceptions do exist. For instance, certain programs at Westcliff University offer the Day 1 CPT option for initial students who meet specific requirements. Consult with our experts on this matter to ensure that you adhere to USCIS guidelines and avoid jeopardizing your future status in the U.S.

25. Which Day 1 CPT universities you don't recommend?
  • Day 1 CPT universities with no accreditation

  • Day 1 CPT universities that lack strong post-enrollment support. For such schools, getting admitted is easy, but securing timely CPT approval could be difficult. We only work with and recommend schools that prioritize students, not just revenue.
  • Depending on your situation, our experts may eliminate certain schools as preferred choices for you. Connect our consultants for personalized advice!

Top 15 Day 1 CPT Universities in the U.S.

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